Núpsstaðarskógar – Skaftafell
This Iceland backpacking tour is considered an Icelandic Mountain Guides great classic treks. The tour offers some of Iceland’s most unique landscapes on a trail not frequented by many.
The trail takes you on a remarkable journey along the canyons of Núpsá river, and up to the Grænalón glacier lagoon quietly nestled between mountains and glacier. Crossing the Skeiðarárjökull glacier is a challenge rewarded by a visit to the Norðurdalur valley which some consider to be one of the most unique places ever.
On the last day the path takes us across the beautiful Skaftafell Mountains, over to Morsárdalur glacier valley and into Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park.
Book this all inclusive trip now while spots are still available for this popular classic!
Total walking distance: 60 kilometers (38 miles).
Altitude: 450-800 meters (1475 to 2625 feet).
Maximum ascent: 450 meters (1475 feet).
Day 1: Reykjavík – Kirkjubæjarklaustur – Núpstaðarskógar valley
Meeting point is at Harpa Concert Hall. From there we take the Sterna bus number 12 at 7:30am. At the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur you will have time for lunch (not included) before we start our drive into Núpsstaðarskógar valley.There we change into the transport that will take us over the rivers and into the valley with its rich covering of Arctic birch.
Day 2: Núpsá canyon – Tvílitihylur waterfalls – Sléttur plains
We start our hike from the valley bottom. After a short climb we come to the magnificent waterfalls of Tvílitihylur, we head up along the neatly sculpted canyons of the lower part of Núpsá river. A short climb leads us up to the deeper part of the canyons with walls up to 200 m high. Camping is on the Sléttur lava plains.
Distance: 15-20km (9-12mi) Walking time: 6-7hrs
Day 3: Sléttur – Grænalón lagoon – Skeiðarárjökull
Crossing plains pink with Arctic River Beauty flowers we start to climb the hills towards Grænalón glacier lagoon. After ascending the Eggjar hills, the view opens over the lagoon where it lies between the mountains with floating icebergs. Our campsite is north of the lake, with a spectacular view over the enormous glacier tongue of Skeiðarárjökull, streaming down towards the plains and covering almost 1600 km².
Distance: 18-22km (11-14mi) Walking time: 6-7hrs
Day 4: Skeiðarárjökull crossing – Norðurdalur
This day is devoted to the crossing of Skeiðarárjökull, from Grænafjall Mountain to Norðurdalur valley, an area surrounded by ice and high mountain ridges. Almost a whole day is required to traverse the 15-km of ice, before standing again on solid ground in the hinterland of the Skaftafell area of Vatnajökull National Park. Waiting for us is magnificent camping with views over the several glacial lakes with floating icebergs and colored rhyolite mountains in the background.
Distance: 18-22km (11-14mi) Walking time: 7-8hrs
Day 5: Morsárdalur – Skaftafell National Park – Reykjavík
After some climbing to a narrow mountain ridge, one is able to admire the view to the yellowish rhyolite valley of Kjós at the other side as well as to Iceland’s highest mountain the Hvannadalshnúkur. Descending into the valley of Morsárdalur, the vegetation becomes progressively more abundant. The beautiful Arctic birch forest of Bæjarstaðarskógur welcomes us before we continue to the main camp site of the national park in Skaftafell. Here we catch a bus back to Reykjavík where the tour ends in the evening.
Distance: 20-25km (12-16mi) Walking time: 7-8hrs
Guide for 5 days
Transport from Reykjavík to Núpsstaðarskógur
Food for 5 days (from dinner on day 1 to lunch on day 5)
Tents and safety equipment for glacier crossing
Transfer with public bus from Skaftafell to Reykjavík.
Please note that we need a minimum of 4 passengers to be able to confirm the departure.
What do I need to bring?
Boots and clothing
Sturdy Hiking Boots – waterproof with good ankle support.
Long sleeve shirt (thermal underwear) – Wool or synthetic.
T-shirt (thermal underwear) – Wool or synthetic.
Light wool or fleece sweater (2nd layer).
Trousers – Strong, light and quick drying e.g. soft-shell.
Jacket with a good hood – windproof, waterproof and breathable.
Rain trousers – windproof, waterproof and breathable. Please note that full raingear is mandatory in Iceland.
Gloves 1 – 2 pairs – Wool or synthetic.
Socks – Wool or synthetic. Two to three pairs.
Warm hat – Wool or synthetic.
Long Johns (thermal underwear) – Wool or synthetic.
Warm jacket/sweater – Wool or fleece (3rd layer).
Puffy jacket (e.g. Primaloft or down).
Backpack – (woman size: 50-60 litres – man size: 60-75 litres) – note that each guest will need about 15 – 20L of space free for food, tents and other communal gear.
River shoes – Closed sandals or old running shoes with, along with a pair of warm socks or neoprene socks. Open sandals or flip-flops will not do the job.
Sleeping bag – Down or fibre. Light weight and warm
Insulation mattress / thermarest.
Towel – light and packable.
Sunglasses & sun protection.
Change of clothes – e.g. long and short underwear.
Water container – thermos flask or water bottle 0,5 – 1L.
Camera, spare batteries and a memory card.
Personal first aid kit – including blister care.
Prescription medication and other personal health items.
Toiletries; Toothbrush, toothpaste etc.
Swim suit (depends on tour).
Dry-bags for electronics and extra clothing.
Neoprene socks – highly recommended for river crossings.
Sun/rain Hat or a Cap. Shorts
We will charge a cancellation fee of 100% if booking is cancelled 15 days or less before event
We will charge a cancellation fee of 75% if booking is cancelled a month or less before event
We will charge a cancellation fee of 50% if booking is cancelled 2 months or less before event
We will charge a cancellation fee of 15% if booking is cancelled 9 months or less before event
|Experience type||Multi day tour|
|Duration||5 days, 1 hours|
|Booking in advance||Cut off: 3 days|
|Physical difficulty level||Demanding|
|Know before you go||Minimum age of passengers is: 16|